Police investigating report of man making suspicious approach to children

Kelburn Park, Burnside. INNT 15-807CON
Kelburn Park, Burnside. INNT 15-807CON

Police are investigating an alleged suspicious approach to a group of children in Burnside on Saturday evening (April 9).

The incident, which is understood to have happened at around 8.15pm, took place close to the Kelburn Park area of the village.

Inspector Ian Lockyer from the PSNI said: “It was reported that sometime around 8.15pm as a group of children were walking towards the Kelburn estate, a man in a van pulled up beside them and asked them to do a job for him and asked them to get into the back of his van and get crisps. Two other children then came over and the man reportedly asked them could they help or did they have to go home. The children did not enter the van and they left the area. None of the children were physically assaulted.

“The man is described as being between 40 and 50 years old, of stocky build, approximately 6’2”/6’3” or taller, bald with grey hair at the sides and wearing a navy long jacket and navy work trousers.

“I would ask the man to contact police as he may be able to help us with our enquiries. Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing, but I would appeal to anyone with any information on this incident to contact police in Newtownabbey on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Ulster Unionist Party councillor David Arthurs is urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the police. He said: “The bright nights are here and kids will be out later playing with friends.

“I would ask parents to be vigilant and know where their kids are at all times.

“If anyone has information regarding the van or driver involved in this incident, I would urge them to call the PSNI on the 101 number.”

South Antrim Progressive Unionist Party representative Scott McDowell said the local community has been left “shocked” by what happened, and he urged parents and children to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.